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Journalist Floriane Irangabiye does not belong in prison
Public statement  Posté le 15:16 26-02-2024, modifié le 15:16 26-02-2024 par Tournons La Page

TLP-Burundi was dismayed by the decision of the Cassation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Burundi confirming the conviction of journalist Floriane IRANGABIYE to 10 years' imprisonment on 13.02.2024. This decision maintains the journalist in detention as decided by the Bujumbura-Mairie Court of Appeal on 09.05.2023.

As a reminder, the charge brought against journalist Floriane IRANGABIYE is "undermining the integrity of national territory", an offence provided for and punishable under article 611 of the Burundian Penal Code. Floriane IRANGABIYE was arbitrarily arrested on August 30, 2022 by agents of the National Intelligence Service (SNR)

She was first incarcerated at SNR headquarters in Bujumbura in conditions that denied her the right to legal assistance from a lawyer and visits from her family. She was interrogated about her work at Radio IGICANIRO, accused of collaborating with the armed opposition against Burundi, without providing any evidence.

At the end of September 2022, Floriane IRANGABIYE was transferred to Muyinga central prison, where she was held in poor conditions that subsequently deteriorated her health. She was later transferred to Bubanza prison, where she is currently unfairly detained.

Like thousands of other Burundians, Floriane IRANGABIYE is a victim of Burundi's political-judicial system, which does not tolerate any dissenting voice. Her case is an eloquent sign of flagrant injustice for a fault that was not committed, but simply for having exercised her profession as a journalist and her freedom of expression.

TLP-Burundi believes that these politico-judicial harassment actions perpetrated against Floriane IRANGABIYE are aimed at nothing other than muzzling the work of human rights defenders and independent media.

The serious charges brought against Floriane IRANGABIYE and her trial demonstrate once again that the Burundian justice system is instrumentalized by the ruling power, and bear ample witness to the intolerance of the ruling power to the exercise of freedom of the press and expression, and to any critical contribution worthy of a State governed by the rule of law.

In view of the above, and now that the judicial process is likely to be completed, TLP-Burundi calls on the Burundian authorities, in particular the President of the Republic, to:

  • Put an end to the unjust imprisonment of journalist Floriane IRANGABIYE as soon as possible and without conditions,
  • Stop using Burundian justice as a tool of repression against Burundian citizens in general, and human rights defenders, journalists and political opponents in particular,
  • Free the shrinking civic space, allowing human rights defenders and journalists to work freely, and enable the Burundian people to fully enjoy their fundamental rights and freedoms.